By Charles F. Otey, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Having survived the initial traffic fiasco onslaught, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s political future remains shaky but pretty much intact. This ongoing saga, which hinges on the testimony of one key Christie aide, will either put him in a solid position to win the presidency in 2016 or bring him to face impeachment charges within the next year.
Now that the Democrats have gone after the king, as the saying goes, they’d better kill him or he’s going to come back twice as strong. This could happen in Christie’s case – at least that’s what his (surviving) staff must hope.
The consensus among the Court Street Cognoscenti is that, in truth, Christie didn’t know about the George Washington Bridge jam until it happened. They see this as a case of subordinates doing something nasty and stupid to impress their volatile and warlike boss.
Did Christie know about the skullduggery sooner than he claimed at his first news conference? Hard to believe he didn’t. That’s the kind of stretch, which even his staunchest supporters try not to make.
Since he is a lawyer and a prosecutor and a very bright guy, it’s inconceivable to this writer that Christie would ever have directed that a number of traffic lanes of the G.W. Bridge be closed for four busy days to gain revenge on the mayor of Fort Lee.
More so than just about any other likely candidate, he’s exceptionally aware that, where a possible criminal or ethical matter is at hand, everyone can be subpoenaed these days, and usually that’s the case. Equally, all e-mails and on-line stuff can also be traced and copied.
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Fired Aide Bridget Kelly Could Be ‘Smoking Gun’
Even the most honest and forthright lawyer with a private-sector practice must think twice each and every time she sends an e-mail or other message that could one day prove to be embarrassing, impolitic or downright libelous. Every senate prosecutor is aware of dangers lurking on the totally discoverable Internet.
Most likely, the overzealous Bridget Ann Kelly reportedly hatched the scheme. She, Christie and others might have set the scene earlier while discussing how dismissively the Fort Lee mayor treated Christie. They might even have talked about different ways of getting “even” and show he deserved a public comeuppance.
Yet as a lawyer, a law-and-order guy and the most visible potential Republican presidential candidate, Christie would have to have been a fool to direct such a clumsy, easily traceable dirty trick that put at risk the lives and limbs of thousands of drivers in the ensuing turmoil.
Christie is a bully who mercilessly skewers people – especially reporters – in public. He’s bold and smart, which is why he hooked up with President Obama following Hurricane Sandy and emerged as the non-politician who placed the well-being of New Jersey residents over any personal elective goal, i.e. the presidency.
The latest charges are that Christie’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy funding from Hoboken if Democratic Mayor Dawn Zimmer didn’t go along with an expensive building project. This will subject Christie to more and more bad press.
Mayor Zimmer seems decent and credible and is becoming a media celebrity following her accusations against Lt. Gov. Guadagno. Assuming Zimmer is essentially telling the truth, it will be easy to argue that Guadagno’s acts were those of a person who was acting entirely on her own, belying any possible link with Gov. Christie.
Even the zealots at MSNBC are calming down on the Christie caper. Likely they are also aware that, without a serious smoking gun proving that Christie has been a liar all along, he could still emerge as the GOP’s best hope to take the White House in two years.